From the Editor

Welcome to our annual Giving issue.

We celebrate the charitable work many of you do in the form of medical missions!

NIFA’s own primary charitable contribution every year is the medical mission work of NIFA faculty member and George Washington University professor Dr. Glenn Geelhoed and his organization Mission to Heal.

This year we sponsored several RNFA graduates to go on missions with Dr. Geelhoed–most recently, to Ghana. The NIFA-sponsored RNFA volunteers on that trip were Amber Rodriguez and Victoria Rice. You can read a little about their experiences below.

NIFA also donates hundreds of pounds of medical supplies to Project C.U.R.E. each year–after benefiting from donations of medical supplies ourselves, which help keep our programs affordable. Scroll down to learn more.

Happy Holidays from all of us at NIFA.

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Glenn Geelhoed Relies on RN First Assistants!

Surgical technologists, Physician Assistants, residents, assisting physicians and others all perform well in the assistant at surgery role. But, as a group, Dr. Geelhoed believes that none come as well prepared to the table as a NIFA trained RNFA. (Read about Victoria Rice and Amber Rodriguez, who served in Ghana.)

Another three that are featured in the Central African Republic book [Mission to Heal] were Leenta Nel, Claudia Vazquez (clinical coordinator for our next trip out to Nigeria in nine more days if her back strain gets remarkable better!) and Bruce Visniski–all stand-outs.

Read more about our RNFAs in Dr. Glenn’s new book! It is now available on its pre-release (ahead of its January 7 pub date) for delivery through the usual B&N or Amazon etc outlets on line and in bookstores even before its pub date.

* Dr. Geelhoed’s new book is Mission to Heal: Sharing Medical Knowledge at Africa’s Pole of Inaccessibility.

Some might ask why Dr. Glenn Geelhoed has the right to make wrenching life-and-death decisions about the impoverished people he treats. Simply, where he travels, there is no one else to make them. This is especially true in the Central African Republic, where the so-called government provides no security and no infrastructure. Mission to Heal is the story of several weeks in the CAR teaching, healing, and learning. Available at

The next missions are to Morocco–April, to Liberia June 15-30 and Sierre Leone July 1-6 before a return to the Himalayas in later summer! All NIFA students and graduates MUST check out the new web page of, get Glenn’s new book and get involved!


Graduate Spotlight: Amber Rodriguez
Name:  Amber Rodriguez
Graduate Status:
Graduated from NIFA’s RNFA program Oct. 2011
City and State:
Casa Grande, AZCurrent Position:Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, RN First AssistNIFA-sponsored Medical Mission:Ghana with Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, summer 2013


“We were on site for 12 days and did over 200 surgeries. We primarily did direct and indirect inguinal hernia repairs, hydrocelectomies, neck dissections and excision of lipomas. The people were extremely happy we were there. . . Things that we take for granted here like being able to recommend physical therapy or a consultation for this or that, were impossible in this setting. We just did the best we could.”

Read more.

Graduate Spotlight: Victoria Rice


Name:  Victoria Rice

Credentials:  RN, CNOR, RNFA
Student Status: Graduated from NIFA’s RNFA program Nov. 2012
City and State: Seattle, WA

Current Position: Surgical Nurse, University of Washington Medical Center. General Surgery and Da Vinci.

NIFA-sponsored Medical Mission: Ghana with Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, summer 2013

“We would do up to 30 surgeries in a day, with two tables running side by side.  It was very intense.  The conditions were: very hot, very humid. You didn’t have a lot of things you’re used to having at home in an American operating room: no bogie, no electrocautery, no general anesthesia–most patients got about 10 ccs of local anesthesia. No drapes.   We sterilized instruments in a pressure cooker.”

Read more.

NIFA and Project C.U.R.E. 

NIFA’s other favorite charity is Project C.U.R.E., the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world. This nonprofit charity is ranked by Forbes as one of the 20 Most Efficient Large U.S. Charities. We donate hundreds of pounds of medical supplies to them each year.Here’s how it works: students and facilities graciously provide NIFA with supplies that hospitals are no longer able to use, which enables NIFA to continue to provide the most advanced first assistant skills training in the country at a reasonable cost. Any supplies that we are unable to use, we donate to Project C.U.R.E., helping us to pursue one of our core missions: improved patient care globally.

Please check with your facility to see if they have any supplies they would like to donate to benefit RNFA training and medical efforts world-wide. NIFA will provide a UPS label for your postage-free donation.